Documentary & Biography TV Shows

About Documentary & Biography

The purpose of a TV documentary, as is probably obvious from the genre's name, is to document something. Documentaries are non-fiction programs that examine a subject closely, and the intent of the program may be broadly educational, or it may attempt to make a cultural or political point. Although the earliest TV programming was focused on entertainment, documentaries quickly became a significant part of TV programming overall, and now some of the most popular TV networks concentrate almost exclusively on non-fiction programs.

Documentary TV programming comes in a number of forms. Stand-alone documentary films explore one subject in depth in a single film or in a short series of episodes, while documentary series often look at a different subject in each episode, with no direct connection between the subjects from episode to episode. News-magazine-style shows may group multiple segments within each episode; the segments typically focus on unrelated subjects. Other types of documentary series-crime and paranormal series are currently popular-explore a different specific subject in each episode, but all of the subjects conform to the overall theme of the series.

Biography is a sub-genre of documentary programming that tells the story of a particular individual. Historical figures, political leaders, entertainers, sports figures and other celebrities are, of course, the most popular subjects of TV biographies, and biographical documentaries are consistently popular with TV viewers. In recent years, the series "Biography" was one of the most successful productions on the A&E cable network-so much so that the network spun the series off into its own channel, The Biography Channel, which debuted in 1999.

Much of the programming that fits into the reality TV genre could also fit fairly comfortably into the documentary genre. Reality series that follow characters as they engage in specific occupations or live in unusual contexts educate viewers about those occupations and lifestyles at the same time that they entertain-although the main goal of these series is entertainment, and factual accuracy may suffer as a consequence.

About This Genre
Polyamory: Married and Dating
Polyamory: Married and Dating
Ghost Adventures
Ghost Adventures
Just Another Immigrant
Just Another Immigrant
Active Shooter: America Under Fire
Active Shooter: America Under Fire
1000 Ways to Die
1000 Ways to Die
My 600-lb Life
My 600-lb Life
Snapped
Snapped
The Fourth Estate
The Fourth Estate
30 For 30
30 For 30
Below Deck Mediterranean
Below Deck Mediterranean
Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team
Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team
Autopsy: The Last Hours Of...
Autopsy: The Last Hours Of...
MARS
MARS
Intervention
Intervention
The New Edition Story
The New Edition Story
Life Below Zero
Life Below Zero
Unexpected
Unexpected
20/20
20/20
Forensic Files
Forensic Files
Dateline
Dateline
Disappeared
Disappeared
My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding
My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding
Beyond Scared Straight
Beyond Scared Straight
Ancient Aliens
Ancient Aliens
Ghost Hunters
Ghost Hunters
Diesel Brothers
Diesel Brothers
Black Love
Black Love
Gangsters: America's Most Evil
Gangsters: America's Most Evil
The Grand Tour
The Grand Tour
American Gangster
American Gangster
The 2000s
The 2000s
I Survived
I Survived
Untold Stories of the E.R.
Untold Stories of the E.R.
90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days
90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days
All or Nothing: Manchester City
All or Nothing: Manchester City
A Football Life
A Football Life
The Killing Season
The Killing Season
Kindergarten
Kindergarten
The Radical Story of Patty Hearst
The Radical Story of Patty Hearst
The FBI Files
The FBI Files
Forbidden: Dying for Love
Forbidden: Dying for Love
Bering Sea Gold
Bering Sea Gold
Dark Net
Dark Net
Cold Case Files
Cold Case Files
Animal Cops: Phoenix
Animal Cops: Phoenix
Behind Bars: Rookie Year
Behind Bars: Rookie Year
The Defiant Ones
The Defiant Ones
Evil Twins
Evil Twins
I Shouldn't Be Alive
I Shouldn't Be Alive
The Sixties
The Sixties
Shadow of Doubt
Shadow of Doubt
Crime 360
Crime 360
Hunting Hitler
Hunting Hitler
Paranormal State
Paranormal State
Chasing Classic Cars
Chasing Classic Cars
River Monsters
River Monsters
Dr. K's Exotic Animal ER
Dr. K's Exotic Animal ER
Evil Genius
Evil Genius
Taboo
Taboo
Pirate Treasure of the Knights Templar
Pirate Treasure of the Knights Templar
Secret Space Escapes
Secret Space Escapes
The Day I Almost Died
The Day I Almost Died
Garage Rehab
Garage Rehab
Religion of Sports
Religion of Sports
The Vanishing Women
The Vanishing Women
Alaska Mega Machines
Alaska Mega Machines
Survivorman
Survivorman
Lockup
Lockup
Dead Silent
Dead Silent
My Crazy Ex
My Crazy Ex
Second Wives Club
Second Wives Club
Kindred Spirits
Kindred Spirits
Ice Road Truckers
Ice Road Truckers
The Coroner: I Speak for the Dead
The Coroner: I Speak for the Dead
Killing Fields
Killing Fields
Pool Kings
Pool Kings
Shattered
Shattered
See No Evil
See No Evil
Real Detective
Real Detective
Jeremy Wade's Mighty Rivers
Jeremy Wade's Mighty Rivers
Laurieann Gibson: Beyond the Spotlight
Laurieann Gibson: Beyond the Spotlight
Who Killed Tupac?
Who Killed Tupac?
After The First 48
After The First 48
Ocean Warriors
Ocean Warriors
The Secret Life of Kids
The Secret Life of Kids
Forbidden History
Forbidden History
Flipping Virgins
Flipping Virgins
American Dynasties: The Kennedys
American Dynasties: The Kennedys
America Inside Out With Katie Couric
America Inside Out With Katie Couric
Down East Dickering
Down East Dickering
Legacy: Bob Hurley
Legacy: Bob Hurley
NASA's Unexplained Files
NASA's Unexplained Files
JFK Declassified: Tracking Oswald
JFK Declassified: Tracking Oswald
This is Life with Lisa Ling
This is Life with Lisa Ling
R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour
R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour
American Lawmen
American Lawmen
Iron & Fire
Iron & Fire
Being Serena
Being Serena
How It's Made
How It's Made
Dead North
Dead North